Lana Top and Dress by Coffee+Thread

I really, really love Olga’s Sirocco Top that came out a few months ago, so I was super happy to join the testing for her newest design, the Lana Top. Made for knits, Lana is delightfully simple and feminine, plus the ruffle details add the perfect element for a contrast fabric. (Which I had to do on two out of three I made… I still need to restrain myself and make a plain solid version!)

The dolman-style sleeves make it a rather quick sew. My first version is an incredibly soft two-sided double-knit, so of course I had to showcase both sides of the fabric. We’ll just refer to this one as the creamsicle tee!

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I wanted to try a lighter fabric with more drape, too, so I made a second top from brushed poly I found at Mily Mae Fabrics. I admittedly fussy cut the giant floral and wasted a bit of my yardage, but so worth it for the perfect front bouquet!

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I love wearing the top, so I dove in and sewed up a dress version, too! I love the tie belt that’s included, it’s yet another sweet detail that works beautifully in a contrast pattern! The wider stripes are a poly blend, and the narrow stripes are a rayon.

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This is a darling top for spring and summer! Grab your copy here: Lana Top & Dress.

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The Joy Jacket by Chalk & Notch

You guys, as I sit here eating Raisinets (hush, they are TOO delicious!) I am congratulating myself on probably my most complex and glorious sew to date: Chalk & Notch’s new Joy Jacket. I conquered a separating zipper (easier than any other I’ve sewn!) and bagging a jacket, not to mention hammering vintage grommets and threading  cording through too-small of a channel (my own fault). And the end result is just spectacular, if I do say so.

 

After checking with Gabriela, I chose a double-sided rayon/poly twill from Style Maker Fabrics, and the peachskin lining was purchased from FabricMartFabrics a while back. It was originally meant to be a blouse, but you know how that goes.

Choosing the main color was difficult, but after much soul-searching I opted for the gray with black accents so they’d best match the zipper, and I even remembered to cut the collar facing the matching coordinating color!

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After much grommet debate–silver? black? charcoal?–my husband convinced me that brass was the way so the hardware would match.  I agree that it was the right choice and looks rather professional.

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The weight of this particular jacket is also excellent for my mostly-warm climate, and you could certainly choose materials to match yours! I would love to make a breezy Tencel version with a  hood for rainy weather, but this medium-weight and very soft twill is heavenly for chilly mornings plus a heavy marine layer.

 

The optional topstitching details also lends such a professional result and I’m so happy I went the extra mile. I’m still adhering to my resolve to add pretty details to my garments and this was a no-brainer. And the lined pockets are another sweet detail, though you can’t see them here.

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My favorite feature of the Joy *might* be the secret flamingos on my lining. In fact, now I’m going to use #secretflamingos as a hashtag, just wait. How fun is this unexpected pattern? Be sure to look through the tester photos because the beautiful lining surprise is easily half the fun!

I can’t even begin to explain the confidence I’ve gained sewing this jacket successfully! Now it seems that nothing looms as too complicated or too hard to work through and I see a marvelous year of sewing challenges ahead of me now.

Purchase your own copy of the Joy Jacket pattern available today from Chalk & Notch.

Circle Cardie by Rebecca Page

I’ve had a wild and woolly past few months of sewing, friends! I’m attempting to scale back pattern testing a bit (which is so difficult when it’s constantly tempting!) so that I can concentrate a little more on sewing garments on my personal wish list. I also jumped in whole hog to the 52 Week Sewing Challenge which is keeping me busy.  However, with all that said, of course I wanted to leap right in on Rebecca’s new adorable cardigan! I treasure my short coldish months in southern California, and a snuggly sweater is a perfect way to embrace the chill.

Who doesn’t appreciate a simple sew with lovely results? Every time I went to iron the sweater, I had to chuckle because there are no side seams to press.  Ease of construction plus a flattering drape and I’m sold!

I started with the pretty ruffled version in the shorter length. I had first cut the ruffle from a rather loose weave sweater knit and I realized that it wasn’t going to hold up well, so I swapped it for some floral Liverpool that I got in a scrap pack from LA Finch Fabrics. This versions is a lot like wearing a built in scarf and I love how it looks from the back!

My second version is French Terry from Mily Mae Fabrics, and this is the most gloriously silvery sparkly French Terry of all time! Because the fabric is the star here, I opted for the simplest option and just hemmed all the way around.  Now I have an awesome little shrug that I can easily toss on over a tee or wear over a little black dress. Options!

My third version is the longer length paired with full length sleeves for best all around coverage and coziness.  This pretty burgundy sweater knit was also picked up recently at Mily Mae because I’ve been madly working through my sweater stash and had to stock up! The extra length really highlights the drapiness; so sweet and feminine (and warm). And I’m proud of myself for momentarily escaping my gray/black wardrobe with a pop of color.

I’ve been mulling over that sweater band that I discarded, and I might have to make a fourth Circle Cardie to try out my idea of doubling it over to see how that stands up. But even without it hanging in my closet yet, I have a stylish few weeks ahead!

Scoop up your own copy of the Rebecca Page Circle Cardie and get cozy!

Bundle – https://rebecca-page.com/product/easy-cardie-pattern/
Ladies – https://rebecca-page.com/product/ladies-cardie-pattern/
Childs – https://rebecca-page.com/product/girls-cardie-pattern/

Regular price $8.50 each. Special launch price of $6 each or $9 for the whole bundle! (sale prices expire 11.59pm GMT Monday, February 12, 2018)

 

Ladies Sansa Flare Pants by Bella Sunshine Designs

Pants, all the pants! Sometimes I’m dying to try out a new pattern and sometimes my curiosity gets the better of me and I sign up to sew something that I’m not sure about.  Flares fall into the latter category for me because I carry my weight in my butt and thighs and my concern was that these might highlight the obvious rather than balance me out. Enter the BSD Sansa Flares (aff), my latest pattern test.

My first go at them was in a 4-way ponte with no alternations other than blending sizes.  The pattern is drafted for a taller body that mine, so it helped me figure out that the thighs were a little too long. I was DELIGHTED with how easy the pattern is to sew together: one mirrored piece + elastic = pants!  How often do you get to say that?

 

 

My second go was in a very resilient double knit, and I used it inside out since I liked the textured darker color.  (Plus the right side was so very soft!) I shortened the thigh 5/8″ and got the flare in just the right place.  However, this oddball fabric gave me a run for my money; despite having the required stretch, it has such a snappy lycra content (or some other reason I don’t understand) that the waist didn’t reach its intended height, so I added the yoga waist band instead. Bonus belly compression! This is a testament to how much a fabric type can influence a pattern’s fit if there ever was one.

 

 

And when these turned out so lovely, so flattering and swingy and fun, I could not resist making one last pair using the above fabric, but this time right side out.  I got creative and was hoping that using the higher rise waist would allow me to use elastic and make them mid-rise, but alas, no.  So high-rise yoga band they are!

P.S. The above camouflage shirt is the Maggie Top, (aff) also from Bella Sunshine Designs.

 

 

Why yes, it is perfectly reasonable to wear a cowl neck sweater and sandals!

 

 

It was kind of exhilarating to run the gauntlet of pattern options and find what I like best.  And so satisfying to have such a great fit so fast.  This is the thrill of jumping into a garment test you’re unsure about, you periodically win the gamble!  Don’t mind me as I sashay my way through Fall in all my new comfy flares.

Go grab your own copy of the Sansa Flares pattern! Regular sale is Friday, December 8th – Friday, December 15th Ends at midnight EST. Members of the Bella Sunshine Designs Facebook group can grab a coupon to save a little extra on December 7th!

Oakley Vest by Love Notions

Whoops, there went a month!  Here I am in November, and it’s time to start thinking about the cooler weather that might *actually* happen one of these days.  Enter the Love Notions new Oakley Vest (aff). I was super unsure of how I felt about this particular garment and it raised important internal questions: Am I a vest person? Am I a faux fur person?  And happily, it turns out I am both!

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Oakley feels totally glorious to wear; the right heft, I have full range of motion for chasing small stinkbugs (aka my boys), and petting the fur FEELS so good!  As an unexpected bonus, I got extra kid hugs wearing this bad boy. We all win!

Before I dove into the wild and wooly world of the fur, I muslined an earlier tester version in wool melton and mystery lining. I’m amazed at how warm this one is (and this material was a piece of cake in comparison).

My eyes are opened to this newfound article of clothing that I no longer fear and I’m looking forward to making another view of Oakley to wear this season – my double-sided gray quilted knit arrives this week!

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I can’t wait to debut this over Thanksgiving! Grab your own copy here: Love Notions Ladies Oakley Vest and its adorable little twin the Acorn Vest (aff).  Stay cozy!

Madeline Ballet Sweater by Laela Jeyne Patterns

October is a rough month to sew for me since three Halloween costumes-to-be haunt me, (ha! see what I did there?) but I had to make time to sew up this ballet-style wrap sweater because I knew how utterly lovely and totally useful it would be for fall.

Bear in mind, these are both first versions of a test that had three versions.  The arms were slimmed a bit and the armscye taken in a bit to remove excess after these photos were shot.  Another difficult part of fall sewing is that the light is long gone by the time my photographer gets home from work so I have to work around weekends and can’t always sew/photograph a final version by the deadline.

Still, I really like how my hot pink French Terry version turned out!  I had blended out at the waist, but turns out I didn’t need to do so with this fabric.  I get a comfy, slouchier vibe from this one.  I wore it this week over a sleeveless maxi dress and it was perfect!  I knew this pattern was a winner.  😉

My second version is made out of distressed knit (which I’m using for everything these days!) that I bought from Mily Mae Fabrics a couple of months ago. This one is such a great, almost-denim neutral, and I got a better fit sticking within the same size all over.  I did go back and remove a little of the excess fabric on this one, and the updated fit is right on.

The darling (and practical!) Madeline Ballet Sweater is part of the Fall 2017 Collection available at Laela Jeyne Patterns (aff). On sale now until October 21! Check out the rest of the tester blog tour for more inspiration!

Monday

Sew Sew IlseKutti CoutureSea of EstrogenLunatiekFlaxfield Sewing

Tuesday

Tip StitchedLunatiekNini and AshMargarita on the RossSew You Think You Can Sew

Wednesday

Diskordia’s Curvy Sewing Kelly’s Sewing CreationsFlaxfield Sewing Katie Sews Things My Little Lady and GentlemanSweet Meadow Threads

The Frida Top and Dress from Designer Stitch

Add this one to the mistakes-were-made-but-I-love-it-anyway shelf.  The Frida is a take on the lovely vintage style Mexican blouses full of embroidery.  I don’t embroider, nor could I hunt down a suitable embroidered border print fabric that I loved, so I went with a more modern all-over embroidered cotton fabric for my top length garment.

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It’s a delight how Ann challenges her testers to push their comfort zones and stretch to a higher fashion territory.  I’m pretty good and sticking with what I like, so I appreciate the (ahem!) gentle nudge.  My first choice (which I have yet to make) was a chambray-colored rayon with incredible drape, so I’m taking baby steps in the right direction.

And my mistake? I sewed my pin tucks inside out. The horror!  But, boy, do I hate seam-ripping since it mostly ruins the experience for me, so here they stay.  I’m pretty sure they’ll go unnoticed by the general public and just bother me alone.

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This is another beautiful pattern that challenged me; I more frequently sew knits which are far more forgiving, and the Frida forced me to get into the precision-sewing mindset. I love the details like the puffed sleeves and button closure at the back of the neck (which  I failed to get a good picture of) that make it feel upscale.

Frida pattern available at Designer Stitch.

Sewing a Strike-off for CrissX Customs Fabrics

Over the summer, I whimsically applied to join the sewist group over at CrissX Custom Fabrics, and to my great delight I was chosen!  Happy dance ensued, of course.  This round features amazing large-scale prints from artist Megan Kumpula’s original acrylic painting, Cotton Candy. I particularly love how the canvas texture transferred to the print, which gives it a really neat depth.  The fabric base featured here is cotton lycra with excellent four way stretch and nice drape. IMG_20170914_115013

Since CrissX is a Canadian company, they of course use the metric system and I was given a meter to work with rather than a yard!  Bonus inches, people! Thus I was able to sew two lovely garments.  The first is a Pattern Emporium Starlight Hi-Lo Skirt, and I used the tall party length.

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I love this easy skirt since it’s incredibly flattery and a quick sew to boot!  My second item is the Juniper Jersey from Blank Slate.  The yoke is a perfect way to utilize a smaller piece of fabric, and I borrowed the pocket from the Austin Tee for an extra little pop of color.

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I first considered a wilder pairing, but in the end I think that the solid gray picks up the gray flecks in the Honey Comb print and coordinates really nicely.  I liked this shirt so much I just wore it the rest of the day after photos while we met up with some friends at a new local brew house.  Win!

CrissX Customs Cotton Candy round is open for preorder now through October 8th.  The collection of prints is also available on French Terry, Bamboo Lycra and Double Brushed Poly in addition to the Cotton Lycra featured here.

Scorpio Top + Dress from See Kate Sew

I recently tested a new pattern for See Kate Sew, and found a marvelous use for some of the double brushed poly fabric I’m so good at collecting.  What I love is how easily put together this pattern is, and since it’s so simple, it will be easy to make changes to – adding a deeper neckline for some drama, altering the sleeve length for the season, and I even accidentally narrowed the width of the mini-floral version here when I cut on the maxi length line instead of the top!

SKS Scorpio - LaFinch

SKS Scorpio - Mily MaeThis larger floral from Mily Mae Fabrics is another lovely DBP and this is the top cut on the correct width – super duper swingy and a comfortable joy to wear!

My final version is this dress (or secret muumuu as I’ve started lovingly calling it) that is fantastic to wear loose, but I find really looks better with a belt to add some definition.  The mustard and burgundy are so pretty for fall.  You can find the pattern for the Scorpio here at See Kate Sew.